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The Poet’s Mistress — uncontrollable, creative passion

In our “Profound Poet’s” Cottage there is a red writing desk with the words,“The Poet’s Mistress.” Everyone who sees it chuckles, and I chuckle at being so clever.

So who is this mistress who steals the heart of the poet?

His mistress is an uncontrollable creative passion who wakes him in the middle of the night. She drives him from his warm bed to his altar. There he caresses the keyboard, plays with a line, a phrase, or a twist of words, until he has waxed eloquently, words telling his inner, deepest feelings. Hours steal away and the poet delights to hide where no one is welcome until he sucks the sweet nectar from the passion fruit.

This passion starts innocently enough. It is just a slight flirtation with words, playful words, even silly ones. Then poignant words with hidden meanings pierce his soul. The chemistry between the poet and the pursued is electrifying. He loves feeling alive and finds reasons just to be near her. An affair crouches at his door and he is open to it.

He argues that only his mistress understands him. It isn’t long until she is pursuing him in a fatal attraction. Up until now, he chases after a thrill that is forbidden and exciting. He doesn’t understand she is playing with him. He stares into empty space; he tries to hide his preoccupation. Certain words play over and over again in his head; it is all harmless, he tells himself.

And where is his wife? She stays in the background, giving him time and space. She sleeps alone as this subtle mistress steals her husband’s affections. His wife calls to him in the next room, “When are you coming to bed?”

And he responds, “Just a minute.” But that minute never comes.

His wife is feeling isolated and alone. The fact that he is in the same house only emphasizes her loneliness. She feels emptiness while others rave how lucky she is to be married to this talented man. He is a man with a way for words, but those words are not meant for her. They are his words, and one day they will be words that will tell the world someone great has passed by.

Yes, the mistress calls to his pride and arrogance. She makes him feel virile. The poet holds to his conviction, he must guard his time, energy and continues to demand his creative space. He refuses to believe that he might be selfish even when his wife warns him that he is losing her affection. As long as she is around, he still has her affection, he thinks. After all, she is his wife.

The poet is bound with ropes of deception that lasso figments of his imagination. He lacks character within but the height of his passion brings great self satisfaction and tells him his family pales in comparison. He tries to be interested in their mundane everyday existence. Even family time seems grueling as they insist upon interaction with him. He secretly feels they get in his way crowding his thoughts.

His family stands beside him. They indulge him constantly. They go about their lives as he runs to his altar where his god demands his soul. The world does revolve around him, he thinks. No one can compete with the brightness of his next stroke of genius.

His wife is spent and angry. She nags, begs, turns away, but her efforts are futile. The answer must come from the poet who carries the fire in his bosom. He must recognize his own selfishness and turn to reality and the people who are really important to him.

His romance for words captivates his heart and mind. Can he change himself? He really doesn’t want to change. He loves being the center of his universe and his own god.

This god of passion is called selfishness and self-serving. Others do not dare tell the poet his character flaws, his ego is fragile. He will not believe them. If he ignores the truth and continues to be deceived by what he calls just an innocent flirtation with words, his downfall will come.

It is the poet’s call. If he is willing to be deceived, loving his own words and taking his mistress to his bosom without thought for others, the wife might just make the final call.

Final brushstroke: It’s just an innocent flirtation of words. Our own words may be sweet to our ears, but better is whispering sweet words in the ear of the one who keeps our bed warm at night and brings us coffee in the morning.

Comments from readers

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Hi Betty:

I couldn’t help but envision Al in his oversized manchair amidst your lovely decorating and had a good laugh! I was reminded of several verses in Proverbs as I read your Final Brushtroke. Wisdom does indeed call to us in such situations, and we are truly blessed when we heed her beckoning!


Farmington, N.M. 


He could have wanted it in the living room. LOL  Lovely story.



Dear Betty:

Another delightful article.  Sure would like to see this BIG chair! Glad Al is so comfortable in it!


Grass Valley, Calif.

Artist’s quote

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” — Pearl S. Buck, writer.